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Fall 2015 Leadership STAR Community Program Begins

New Set of US Cities and Counties Embark on Path to STAR Certification

Florida and the Heartland Well-Represented in Fall 2015 Leadership Program
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Washington, D.C. (October 8, 2015) – Today, STAR Communities announced the 6 new cities and counties that comprise the Fall 2015 Leadership STAR Community Program. They include: Columbia, MO; Durango, CO; Kansas City, MO; Lawrence and Douglas County, KS; Marathon, FL; and St. Petersburg, FL.

On October 6-7, representatives from all 6 communities gathered in Washington, D.C. along with STAR staff and representatives from Certified STAR Communities Reading, PA and Raleigh, NC for a two-day training event. STAR staff walked the new communities through the STAR Community Rating System framework and evaluation measures and led them through a variety of hands-on exercises to calculate a preliminary score and develop an action plan for the year, while mentors from STAR-Certified communities shared best practices and tips for managing data collection, working with partners, and implementation planning.

Recent STAR certifications in the nation’s Heartland and in Southern Florida have increased interest in measuring sustainability performance in the two regions of the country. Broward and Monroe County, FL; St. Louis, MO; and Davenport, IA are just a few recent examples of communities that have achieved STAR certification. Activity in the state of Colorado has also increased, with Durango becoming the 6th community in the state to register as a STAR Community.

The new group of communities see the Leadership STAR Community Program and STAR certification as the next logical step in their local sustainability efforts. Eileen Horn from Lawrence-Douglas County KS stated, “one of the key challenges we experience is measuring our progress in a robust manner and succinctly communicating that to our citizens.” The Leadership Program offers extensive tools, training, and outreach and communications support to ensure cities and counties are successful on their journey to STAR certification. The communities will spend the next 6-9 months gathering data before submitting their applications for certification and then will work on implementation planning and outreach for the last few months of the program.

Communities that arrived early to the training were invited by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to attend their Clean Tech Leadership Forum: Pathways to Progress. The forum featured speakers from the White House, federal agencies, and local government leaders and provided an opportunity to learn about the exciting work being done by MWCOG and around the country in the clean technology field.

Nearly 75 US communities to date have participated in the Leadership Program, which commences 2 times a year in March and September. To learn more about the program or to register your community and begin using STAR Communities’ tools today, visit the “Get Started” section of our website at www.STARcommunities.org.

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STAR Communities is a DC-based nonprofit that works to evaluate, improve and certify sustainable communities. The organization administers the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s first framework and certification program for local sustainability. For more information, visit www.STARcommunities.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @STARCommRating.

Contact: Lacey Shaver
Manager, Community Engagement
STAR Communities
lacey@starcommunities.org
855-890-7827, ext. 105

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